Israel criticizes prisoner swap agreement between US, Iran

Israel criticizes prisoner swap agreement between US, Iran

Premier Netanyahu says Israel considers Iran's nuclear program as 'number one national security threat'

By Esra Tekin

ISTANBUL (AA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday criticized a US-Iran agreement to release around $6 billion worth of frozen Iranian assets in the South Korea Central Bank in exchange for a prisoner swap.

“Israel's position is clear regarding agreements that won't dismantle Iran's nuclear infrastructure, won't halt its nuclear activities, but instead will provide funding to terror elements sponsored by Tehran,” said Netanyahu in a written statement issued by his office.

Netanyahu further added that Israel considers Iran's nuclear program and the groups it is affiliated with in the region as the "number one national security threat.”

Israel supported then-US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal in 2018, by strongly opposing the 2015 agreement on Tehran's nuclear program.

Israel advocates for military intervention as a deterrent against Iran’s nuclear program.

- US-Iran swap agreement

Reports in both the US and Iranian media shared information about a prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran, where it was stated that Iran's frozen $6 billion in South Korea would be released in exchange for the two countries conducting a prisoner swap.

On Aug. 10, the White House confirmed that five American citizens imprisoned in Iran had been released from detention and placed under house arrest.

Iran's deputy foreign minister and chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri, said that Iran's frozen assets and numerous Iranian citizens detained in the US would be released.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry had stated that the method of releasing the assets frozen in South Korea was within Iran's discretion.

John Kirby, the coordinator for Strategic Communication at the White House National Security Council, announced on Aug. 11 that negotiations were ongoing for the complete release and return of detained American citizens in Iran, emphasizing that no agreement had been reached yet.

Kirby confirmed the $6 billion frozen Iranian assets in South Korea, saying there would be limitations on how Iran could use this money.

Iran's Central Bank President Mohammad Reza Farzin announced yesterday that the blockade on their frozen assets in South Korea had been lifted.

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